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Carterton and Pioneer stand out

Carterton captain Daryl Pickering was happy to bag the five points in their first outing of the season. PHOTO/FILE

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Marist 20
Carterton 29
Four tries in 15 minutes sealed Carterton’s bonus-point victory over Marist at Memorial Park No. 2 on Saturday in the first round of the town and country series.
Last year’s beaten championship finalists dominated the early exchanges, but the home side took the lead when centre Cory Cathro beat the defence to the ball from an outstanding kick from debutant winger Hayden Cooper.
The visitors were finally rewarded for their wealth of possession and territorial pressure after 25 minutes when prop Tupou Lea’aemanu burrowed over after several forward charges.
The little Fijian magician Inia Katia extended the lead three minutes later when he robbed a Marist player of the ball and ran away to score in the corner.
Winger Fiula Tamielau finished off a good backline move after the Carterton scrum forced a tighthead, and another flying Fijian fullback Aseri

Waqa scored on the stroke of halftime to give the visitors a handy 29-8 lead.
The second half, however, failed to live up to the first 40 minutes with basic errors such as failing to find touch and kicking out on the full, crooked throw-ins, and numerous knock-ons disrupting the flow.
The complexity of the game did change with 20 minutes to go with 62-cap Wairarapa-Bush utility forward James Goodger playing his first game since leading Marist to championship glory in 2020.
Goodger took up refereeing last year after struggling with persistent shoulder injuries, but has returned to the playing ranks, and made an immediate impact. The 34-year-old dominated the lineouts, was a powerful ball runner, solid defensively, and directed the young Marist team around the paddock.
Marist’s dominance over the last quarter paid off with two late tries – the first to replacement hooker Sam Siaosi from a lineout drive, and the second to first-five Parau Hosking-Ellis in the last action of the game.
In the end, Carterton captain Daryl Pickering was pleased to hang on for the victory, “considering we stopped playing for the last 30 minutes”.
“We only just had a squad together probably the last week and a half, so we’ll take that any day,” Pickering said.

“We had guys coming off the bench who haven’t been to a training so to slot in there and still manage to come away with the win, yeah, no complaints really.”

Pickering said the plan is to build on last year’s effort, with the same core group of players.
“We’re just trying to benefit from the backline that we’ve got. We’ve got Inia in there steering us around and those young guys are pretty hard to catch out wide.”
He was rapt with the impact of veteran lock Lachie McFadzean, who is back in the fold after missing the 2021 season, as well as Hurricanes Under-20 rep Logan Wakefield, who had strong game at number 8.
“Logan has had a massive off season and he’s trained bloody hard and put on a few kgs in the off-season and you can definitely tell out there he’s a force to be reckoned with.”
Pickering was also thrilled to see his old representative teammate Goodger back on the paddock, saying that he “was glad he only came on with only 20 minutes to go because he just controls it around the park.”
Pioneer 23
Greytown 20
New Pioneer coach Victor Thompson believed his team were good enough to tip over defending Lane Penn Trophy champions Greytown.
That belief paid off with an outstanding second half defensive effort holding out the hard charging Greytown in front of a passionate crowd at Jeans Street.
Pioneer made the most of their opportunities to take a 23-7 halftime lead, and then they withstood wave after wave of Greytown attacks in the second spell for a deserved victory, which stopped Greytown’s unbeaten run at 12 games.
“We were aiming for the win, and we knew we had it in us, because we’d had a good build up,” said Thompson.
“I knew they [Greytown] were all class but they surprised me how they came out, and they were pretty sharp.

“It’s been a long time between drinks getting one over Greytown; they’ve been the benchmark of late to compare ourselves to, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Thompson said the foundations of the win came from the trust his players have with each other and their systems put in place by last year’s coach Koti Whittaker.
“Things have changed, people expect us to implode all the time but that’s a thing of the past. Koti started something in our team and club last year and we’re building on that again this year.”
Thompson singled out backs Reece Calkin, Nikora Ewe, and Shayne Harmon, and underrated loose forward Himiona Haira, and prop Eden Smith as having big games for the winners.
Martinborough 7
Gladstone 43
Gladstone co-coach Stan Wright was surprised at the ease of their victory over Martinborough at Martinborough.
The home side took the lead with their only try of the match in the opening five minutes, but after that it was all Gladstone as they ran in five tries to take a 31-7 lead into the halftime break.
A further two tries in the second stanza wrapped up a comprehensive first win under new coaches Wright and Charlie Bargh.
“I didn’t really know what to expect because we hadn’t really had a good preseason,” Wright said.

“It did surprise me, but I was pretty proud actually, and it was a good all round team effort.

“We put our emphasis on defence, and I think that was the difference in the game.
“The things we’re doing at training, the boys trust the system now, and I think when they tried it out in a real game it sort of worked.”
Wright said the Eschenbach brothers – Jack, Harry, Fred, and George in the backs created havoc for the Martinborough defence, while new lock Will Porritt, a former Canterbury age group rep, impressed in his debut.
Eketahuna 7
East Coast 20
East Coast picked up a four try bonus point in a tough, no quarter given, clash at Eketahuna.
Tries to Sam Barber, Finn Ellmers, Luke McKenna, and Andy Williams sealed the win for the Coasties, but the margin would’ve been much greater if Jack Wakeling had not left his kicking boots in the warmup when he hadn’t missed a kick.
“It was good positive start for us,” said East Coast coach Aaron Matenga.
“Pretty happy with the way things went, but obviously it’s still early days and there’s a lot to work on.”
Matenga felt his team failed to capitalise on their opportunities in the first half but praised Eketahuna’s strong defence.
“It was pretty tight all the way through, and it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that we got on top of them.

“The boys know themselves that we didn’t capitalise on areas that we should have, and a bit of fatigue let us down a bit with the decision-making side of things, but just small things that are easy fixes.”

Wairarapa Wahine Toa 0
Feilding Old Boys Oroua 67
There were some encouraging signs for Wairarapa Wahine Toa, despite being on the wrong end of a big scoreline at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.
The home side were competitive for good portions of their Manawatu women’s championship match against Feilding Old Boys Oroua, but in the end could not match the pace and skill levels of their polished opponents.
Wairarapa were particularly solid in the first 20 minutes with well-organised structures setting a good platform.
However, once Feilding Old Boys Oroua gained the lion’s share of possession, they ran away with the game, finishing with 13 tries.
Wairarapa’s next outing is against Whanganui Metro on Saturday, and they would be confident of recording their second win of the competition.

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